Continuing their successful motorsports program, Jaguar created the D-Type as a logical progression of the XK120C, or C-Type.
Even before the 1953 victory at Le Mans, it became clear to Jaguar that a new car would be necessary to stay ahead of Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin and Maserati.
After an eighteen-month development period, the D-Type was launched in time for the 1954 Le Mans.
The Jaguar D-Type was a sports racing car produced by Jaguar Cars between 1954 and 1957.
It was designed specifically for Le Mans 24-hour race and utilised the straight-6 XK engine from its C-Type predecessor.
Remembered for its vertical stabiliser, the car was a revelation in aerodynamics from the aviation world.
Initially, it used a 3.4-litre engine, upgraded to 3.8-litre in 1957 and reduced to 3-litre when Le Mans rules limited engine sizes.
Stirling Moss was less complimentary about the D Type; he felt the C-Type was much nicer to drive.
He recalled, ‘We went up the escape road at Mulsanne as often as we went round the corner during practice at Le Mans in 1954.
That said, during the 1954 Le Mans, Stirling and co-driver Peter Walker, despite issues over contaminated fuel, led the race and set a record speed of 172.97mph.
Subsequently, the brakes failed, and they were forced to retire.
71 Jaguar D-Types were built, 18 for the factory teams and 53 for the privateer teams.
When Jaguar retired from racing as a factory team, they offered the remaining 25 incomplete cars as road-legal Jaguar XKSS.
In 1957, a factory fire annihilated nine of them.
As to the D Type racing efforts, it won Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957, making it the most successful Jaguar race car.